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The wrecking balls had grown weary. After the fall of the Wall, they had razed so many heroes of socialism. In 1993, Thälmann was due to be removed as well. But where could the 50 tons of bronze and stone go? And who would be paying for it? Estimates put the cost of demolition at up to five million deutschmarks. He was preserved for posterity, therefore, and since 2014 he has been a listed monument.

Some see him as a deserving leader of the German working class, für die Anderen paramilitary KPD commander and Stalinist villain. The fact that Stalin dropped him during his detention by the Gestapo – history’s bad joke. Murdered by the Nazi regime, he was turned into a cult by SED officials. A grey-stone guardian, monumental legacy of the division of Germany.

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